A national day of remembrance was held in Ireland on Sunday to honor the more than 6,600 people who have died of Covid-19 over the past two years.
President Michael D. Higgins began the day of remembrance and reflection by ringing the Peace Bell five times in Áras an Uachtaráin, honoring those who died during the pandemic, those who lost loved ones, to those who have made sacrifices and to those who still have Covid.
“Today, we have at the forefront of our concerns the more than half a million people in this country who have lost loved ones during the pandemic, and all those, too, living abroad who have sometimes endured a painful separation from their loved ones back home in Ireland with great distress and grief,” Higgins said in a speech on Sunday morning.
Taoiseach Michael Martinwho is still in isolation in Washington DC after testing positive for Covid-19, paid tribute to frontline workers in a statement on Sunday.
“Without hesitation and before we even understood the true nature or magnitude of the threat, they put themselves in harm’s way to protect us all,” Martin said.
“Without complaint, they cared for our sickest and brought dignity and compassion to the most tense and difficult situations.”
The main ceremony of the day took place in Dublin’s Garden of Remembrance. The ceremony honored those who died during the pandemic and those who contributed to the fight against Covid.
A specially commissioned poem was performed during the ceremony in addition to reflections from a hospital chaplain and a bereaved representative.
Representatives also laid wreaths at the garden’s cruciform pool during the ceremony.
Most of those invited to attend the ceremony had lost loved ones during the pandemic or had worked on the front lines against the virus.
Similar events took place in every county over the weekend, while the Irish flag was flown at half-mast on all buildings in the state.